Dr Rachel Carmenta is Tyndall Centre Lecturer in Climate Change and International Development, a position held between the Tyndall Centre and the School of International Development. Rachel co-leads the Overcoming Poverty with Climate Actions research area within the Tyndall Centre and contributes to post-graduate and undergraduate teaching within the School of International Development.

Before joining the Tyndall Centre and School of International Development at UEA, Rachel held a Frank Jackson Research Fellowship at the University of Cambridge with Wolfson College, the Conservation Research Institute (UCCRI) and the Department of Geography, prior to which she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and based in Indonesia. She holds a PhD from Lancaster Environment Center at Lancaster University. Her orginal training was in Ecology, Bsc Hons at the University of East Anglia.

Academic Background

Dr Carmenta is an environmental social scientist specialising in interdisciplinary research at the intersection of environment and development, environmental risk and the relationship between place and well-being. She is particularly interested in the design, performance and social equity of environmental governance. Her work engages with an interdisciplinary set of collaborators, scales of analysis and analytical lenses in order explore what strategies perform better to reconcile the imperatives of food production, forest protection and human wellbeing in dynamic forest agriculture landscapes of the global South. In these contested frontiers, uncontrolled, recurrent and catastrophic wildfires have become a “new normal” in the context of the Anthropocene. A central strand of Rachel's work centers on the tropical wildfire complex -a leading environmental challenge at the interface of social and natural systems. Her current research seeks to recognize the diverse interests, politics and burdens of land use change and wildfire, with a particular focus on expanding conventional impact metrics to capture the often invisible, place-based impacts of landscape flammability and conservation and development interventions on food security, health and locally defined human well-being. Rachel’s work is focused in Brazilian Amazon and Indonesian peatland frontiers and can be summarized along the following broad themes:  

  • Political ecology of agrarian and environmental change with a tropical fire focus  
  • Environmental justice and bio-cultural approaches to natural resource management  
  • Relationship between the environment, relational values and human-wellbeing
  • Conservation and development

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